Two North Belfast areas receive £16.5m housing boost

The Minister for Social Development, Nigel Dodds, has announced the investment of £16.5m in the Gainsborough and Mountcollyer areas as part of the process of rebuilding North Belfast.

Speaking at the official opening of the new premises for the Lower North Belfast Community Council (LNBCC) in the Castleton Centre on the York Road, Mr Dodds said: “I am pleased to announce a substantial housing investment for the redevelopment of the Gainsborough and Mountcollyer areas, as part of the ongoing implementation of the Housing Executive’s North Belfast Housing Strategy.

“This will enable the Housing Executive to get on with the job of removing the unsightly and unfit housing in these areas thus enabling a process of regeneration to begin. This will hopefully provide a sound basis for the restoration of confidence in this part of North Belfast.”

The Mountcollyer and Gainsborough urban renewal plans are a combination of redevelopment, group repair and grant aid and are part of the overall housing strategy for North Belfast.

Paying tribute to the work of the LNBCC in community development, particularly in the area of community training, Mr Dodds said this had made a significant contribution towards stabilising the local community.

The Minister also re-affirmed his commitment to the delivery of the £133m North Belfast Housing Strategy which is designed to tackle the chronic housing need in both communities in North Belfast.

The seven-year North Belfast Housing Strategy launched last year by the Housing Executive involves investing £15m to acquire land for the new house building programme and the building of 1,750 new homes.

Also included in the scheme is £13m in private sector grants to reduce the unfitness of housing in the area and £28m to be spent on improving existing Housing Executive accommodation.

Some elements of the strategy are already under way and this year over £18m will be spent on new housing and improvements. (SP)

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